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bill at herrin.us
Thu Oct 27 23:26:02 CDT 2011
On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 11:59 PM, Dave CROCKER <dhc2 at dcrocker.net> wrote:
> On 10/28/2011 5:44 AM, William Herrin wrote:
>> A commons is jointly owned, either by a non-trivial number of private
>> owners or by all citizens of a government.
> The practical use of the term is a bit broader:
> As rule, the term gets applied to situations of fate-sharing when actions by
> some affect utility for many.
> You cited air pollution. The Internet can suffer comparable effects.
> Spam can reasonably be called pollution and it has a systemic effect on all
> users. For such an issue, it's reasonable and even helpful to view it as a
I respectfully disagree.
If you throw pollution into the air, it may eventually impact me or it
may blow somewhere else. Mostly it'll blow somewhere else. But as lots
of people throw pollution into the air, some non-trivial portion of
that pollution will drift over me. This is the so-called tragedy.
By contrast, if you send me spam email, you are directly abusing my
computer. The linkage is not at all amorphous. You send to me. I
receive from you. There is no "all world" or "local area" destination.
If you send without some specific pointer in my direction, I won't
receive it. Ever.
Imagining spam as a tragedy of the commons disguises its true nature
as a massive quantity of one-on-one abuses of individual owners'
computers. Worse, it forgives the owners of the intermediate networks
for shrugging their shoulders and turning a blind eye to the abusers.
William D. Herrin ................ herrin at dirtside.com bill at herrin.us
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <http://bill.herrin.us/>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004
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